President Donald Trump gave Boeing South Carolina an unprecedented advertising boost Friday, saying "God Bless Boeing" as he promoted the company's work force in his first visit to the Palmetto State in a year.
Speaking to more than 5,000 employees, guests and VIPs, the president left behind the combative theatrics of Washington to press his message of American jobs first.
"Just like you built this incredible airplane behind me, we're going to rebuild this country and ensure that every forgotten community has a bright future," Trump said as Boeing marked the official roll out for its new 787-10 Dreamliner passenger jet.
"Very shortly you will have a level playing field again," he said.
Most of Trump's speech amounted to a 16-minute jobs-first pep talk held inside a cavernous hangar at Boeing's North Charleston campus. There was no targeting of the media or of his critics who have been otherwise featured in his most recent appearances.
The lightest moment came when Trump made a side-by-side comparison of the bubble-nosed Boeing 747 that is Air Force One and the new, state-of-the-art — and much sleeker — 787-10. Both planes were parked behind him as the speech backdrop.
"That plane, as beautiful as it looks, is 30 years old," he said of the Air Force One presidential carrier. "Can you believe it? What can look so beautiful at 30? An airplane."
Trump also paid homage to South Carolina voters, especially those who cast votes in last February's presidential primary, giving him a huge win on his path to the GOP nomination.
"I have to say I love South Carolina. I love it." he said, adding, "This was a place that was going to be tough to win and we won in a landslide."
Mostly the appearance was a chance to press his economic message.
"We're here today to celebrate American engineering and American manufacturing," he said. "We're also here to celebrate jobs."
"As your president, I will do everything I can to unleash the power of the American spirit and to bring our great people back to work," he also said.
It was also significant what Trump did not talk about. There was no discussion of the failed attempt Wednesday by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to unionize the plant.
The expected endorsement of continuing the Ex-Im Bank, which backs loans so foreign companies can buy U.S. goods, such as Boeing airplanes, additionally did not materialize during his speech. Critics have blasted the program as corporate welfare.
Friday's event also marked a milestone for new Gov. Henry McMaster, a close Trump ally after his early endorsement in the presidential run. The Boeing roll-out was the largest economic development the new governor has been a part of in his month-old career.
Working for Boeing in South Carolina "is just about as close to heaven as it gets," McMaster said.
McMaster went on to praise Trump's election as on par with Ronald Reagan, saying he is charting a "new course to strength, opportunity and greatness for this country he loves."
S.C. GOP Chairman Matt Moore said the president's visit still means a bump for South Carolina, even as the stop was more business-oriented than part of the party boosting apparatus.
"Regardless of one's political views, we can all believe that Boeing workers are good for the state," he said.
Republican U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott did not attend the event, citing votes in Washington. U.S. Reps. Mark Sanford and Joe Wilson were seated in the front row.
One group that wasn't so welcoming was the S.C. Democratic Party.
"It's good that Donald Trump seems to enjoy reliving the 2016 campaign because Americans are demanding a full investigation of his campaign's collusion with Russia," said Chairman Jaime Harrison.
"In the meantime, the president would be wise to focus on actually helping American workers rather than eliminating health care and giving Wall Street free rein over the American economy," Harrison said.
Several Boeing employees declined to comment on Trump's message after his exit. One who did said it was on point.
"I was inspired," said Christopher Marsh. "I like that he said bring jobs here. That was important."
Trump ended his speech by praising the Boeing aircraft, the workforce and his efforts to spread economic recovery to neglected communities.
"May God bless the United States of America," he said. "And God bless Boeing."